The Blog I Left Behind

Oh, dear, it’s been some time since I’ve posted a blog. The days just keep getting sucked into a vortex, don’t they?

What’s been happening? Well, in July I went to London and Amsterdam. I made a decision to pack in as much as could into every waking hour because life is simply too short. Had the time of my life, and not just because I finally saw the stage production of my all-time favourite movie, Dirty Dancing. In the Netherlands, I stayed with my sister and family. I soon found that the translation app on my iPhone was embarrassingly inaccurate. I tried SO hard to practise my Dutch “skills” with cheese shop assistants and the like. They, of course, were quick to realise my ineptitude and responded to me in English. One of the many highlights of the Netherlands trip, apart from seeing my family again, was a visit to the Rijksmuseum, which had been closed for a decade or so. There I saw Nicolas Cage. Or someone who looked just like him.

Nicolas Cage never ages...

Nicolas Cage never ages…

Bikes in Breda, a Dutch town.

Bikes in Breda, a Dutch town.

London was spectacular. 30 degrees most days. Who’d have thunk it? Teeming with millions of happy summer-loving people. I found riding the Tube and buses unbearable in the heat, though. (Is there no aircon on London public transport?) Pimm’s was a most effective antidote to the heat. It was better to walk everywhere anyway, up to seven hours a day, surviving on salads from Pret a Manger. I’m convinced I saw Samwell from The Game of Thrones checking out of the Hotel Russell when I was checking in. Also sure I saw Liza Minnelli having a ciggie outside a restaurant in the West End. And I’m 100% positive I saw Hugh Jackman. People were screaming his name after all. He was in town for the Wolverine premiere. By pure luck, I stumbled upon the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A Museum. Seriously could have spent an entire day there. Another highlight was St Paul’s Cathedral. I climbed almost 400 steps to the top. What really took my breath away was the incredible view of London from up there.

The view from the top of St Paul's Cathedral.

The view from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman

I can assure you London Bridge is not falling down.

I can assure you London Bridge is not falling down.

Aside from travel, I’ve ventured into low-budget filmmaking. I helped my husband’s band, the Model School, shoot a music clip (below), and also did their band photos. The band last week released their third album, Backwards Down the Highway. Most of the songs were inspired by an Arizona road trip, parts of it recorded in our Sydney home studio and Brendan, the singer’s, car. And the CD was mastered in New York by the guy who did Springsteen’s Born to Run album. It sounds fantastic.

The Model School

The Model School

So that’s my latest brag update. I’ll be back sometime in the future…

String Quartet Theory

I’m partial to a good cover version, as you’ll find on a guest post I did a while ago at the blog of the very talented and musically inclined Stephanie Kuehnert (‘I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone’ – MTV  Books). So I was excited to discover a 2004 release of Duran Duran songs covered by the Vitamin String Quartet. This is most excellent for three reasons. One, it contains some of my favourite DD tunes (like Save a Prayer, Planet Earth; LOVE the intro to Hungry Like the Wolf). Two, I can write and listen at the same time, which is usually difficult because I get distracted by the lyrics if there’s a vocal track. Three, I love me a string quartet.

Downsides? Obviously, they lack Simon Le Bon’s dulcet tones and Nick Rhodes’s delicious synths. And the temptation to sing along is strong because I know every word. But if you’re a DD fan and you’re looking to diversify your writing playlist, you can find The String Quartet Tribute to Duran Duran and its eerily familiar album cover on iTunes.

This is Pinklepurr, who is deathly afraid of wolves, so he welcomes the instrumental version of 'Hungry Like the Wolf'.

This is Pinklepurr, who is deathly afraid of wolves*
and runs away if you even say the ‘W’ word.
He welcomes the instrumental version of ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’.

*See this post for the full explanation.

Other noteworthy cover versions I’m listening to now (with vocals!):

  • Suzi Quatro’s cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Into You, which my hubby intro’d me to recently.
  • Luna’s cover of Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses.
  • And if I could find Kirsten Vigard’s version of God Give Me Strength that was mimed brilliantly by Illeana Douglas in the underrated 1996 movie Grace of My Heart, I would be sooooo happy. The version in the film is sublime but there’s no recording of it available anywhere. The soundtrack contains a version by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, who wrote the song. Confused? Perplexed? Ah, well, just watch this performance:

It’s Not Doomsday Per Se…

It’s December 21*, the last day of the Mayan long-count calendar. Naturally, according to some, this can only mean one thing — it’s the end of the world as we know it. At 11:11 UTC, to be precise. Alarmists predict an apocalypse. So I guess we’re talking earthquake fissures wide enough to swallow whole cities, Himalayan peaks exploding one by one in a daisy-chain formation, and/or widespread destruction that’ll leave the LOLcats to inherit the earth. If that’s not enough, we’re also set for a collision with planet Nibiru.

good

If you’re concerned about an imminent astronomical disaster, I have good news for you. NASA is confident Nibiru does not even exist.

There’s no cause for panic. As NASA explains in the link above, just because a calendar runs out doesn’t mean it’s the end of days. The I Can Has Cheezburger calendar my cats appeared in runs out on December 31, and no-one’s running around saying we’re all gonna die because there are no pages left. Well, okay, the Model School is. (See their post-apocalyptic music video below. Buy the song here for $1!) Some would argue the Mayans actually anticipated a new beginning after Dec 21. Further to this, my favourite psychic astrologer, Jessica Adams, has given her forecast for January 2013. No mention of a world-destroying event. If that’s not proof our hearts will go on after today, then I don’t know what is.

I usually set up a playlist of 11 songs for each chapter of my work in progress. But in the spirit of things, I’ve put together a list of 21 songs that I think are doomsday-appropriate. Some are morbid, others a bit more cheerful and optimistic. Kate Miller-Heidke’s The Last Day on Earth is one of them. No apocalypse would be complete without a final listen to the Smiths’ There is a Light That Never Goes Out. Duran Duran’s Anyone Out There is a song I’d play on repeat as a siren call to summon survivors from all corners. The rest:

What songs are on your end-of-the-world list? Got a fave doomsday movie or book?

*in Sydney, Australia

A First Time for Everything!

The lovely people at HarperCollins Publishers Australia have put together a collection of ten short stories, all with a cyber-dating theme, in ‘URL Love: From Texting to Twitter, the Hottest Online Love Stories‘. It’s out TODAY! Yay! I’m so excited, because my story, ‘The Tweetest Thing,’ is in the anthology. It’s the first time I’ve been published in fiction. You can purchase the e-book now from Amazon and iBookstore. Plus, there’s a Facebook fan page here. Check out this cute story-behind-the-story by Mel Saward, a fellow contributor to the anthology.

‘The Tweetest Thing’ was inspired by a Duran Duran concert that my boss took me to back in March. Mind you, this work is fictitious and any resemblance to events and real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental!!! From 2pm AEST today at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood site, I will reveal more about the story and how a simple retweet from DD’s Simon Le Bon turned me into a grinning fool for days on end.

Speaking of Duran Duran, as I often do these days, John Taylor, arguably the world’s most photogenic bass player, has just released his memoir, In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran DuranI’m looking forward to finding out all the things about JT and the band that I was once too young to know!

It’s herrrrre!

One of the truly pitiful iPhone photos I took at the Duran Duran concert at the Mountain Winery, Saratoga, California, in August. (Yes, I saw them twice this year on two different continents!) That’s John on the left and Simon on the right. I’d used up the battery on my other camera the night before at the Chris Isaak concert, to which I had front-row seat.

Midi Matilda, Duran Duran’s two-man support act in Saratoga. They were fantastic. I listen to their songs ‘Ottawa’ and ‘Day Dreams’ every morning to put me in a good mood before work. They also connected with me on Twitter after the gig. Nice guys!

Don’t forget to visit me at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog later today for a lil’ release-day celebration!

We’re All Gonna Die

Sad but true. I am actually referring to a song title by my hubby’s band, the Model School, though. The song has been selected as the opening credits track for an upcoming indie Aussie movie called ‘LBF‘ (which is an abbreviation for something more profane). The film is based on Cry Bloxsome‘s 2006 novel of the same name.

I wish I could embed the trailer here, but there seems to be a communication breakdown between WordPress and Vimeo. (Or, more likely, maybe I’m a bigger gumby at techno things than first thought!) Go to this link to see and hear the teaser.

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

Actually, Emily, the heroine of Stephanie Kuehnert‘s first book wants to be your Joey Ramone. Here’s the blurb:

I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE is book about mothers and daughters and about punk rock. Emily Black learned to play guitar even before she learned to tied her shoes. After all, music is a huge part of her life. Just months after Emily is born, her mother Louisa leaves Emily with her father Michael unable to cope with having a child. Michael tells Emily that Louisa went to follow the rise of the punk scene around the country. Emily grows up listening to Louisa’s old records and practicing like crazy. She’s determined to be a musician who can rock better/faster/harder than the best of them. Because if she is the music, then Louisa will come find her. She’ll be drawn to Emily. Right?

I can hear the soundtrack already. I’m so excited for Stephanie that I might have to be sedated.

Stephanie, who just happens to be one of my generous crit partners, is doing a reading this Wednesday, September 5, at Sheffield’s in Chicago from 7pm. Go along and see her if you’re in the area. I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE will be a June 2008 release through MTV Books.

The Plymouth Independent Film Festival

Tired of seeing the same old blockbusters at your local cinema? Most major cities have an annual film festival where you can discover new film-making talent, namely my good friend Brinsley Marlay. His short film, Briefings, is in competition at the Plymouth Independent Film Festival, Massachusetts (July 18 – 22). The taut and suspenseful plot is punctuated beautifully by a haunting score. (Okay, I’m a little biased – my husband did an amazing job with sound design and he composed the score.)

Congratulations, Brinsley and Mr. Authorness! Best of luck.